Kudos to Kenya

Kudos to Kenya

Alexa Schirtzinger
Published: 07/17/2008

Just two days after the Environmental Protection Agency renounced any responsibility for regulating greenhouse gas emissions, Kenya's courts stepped up to thwart a massive sugarcane and ethanol project planned for the Tana River Delta, a biodiverse ecosystem that is home to significant portions of the world's greater flamingoes, African spoonbills, and  various sandpipers and terns.

I was going to write a treatise on the merits of environmental conservation even in developing countries. (How odd, by the way, that we use "developed" and "developing"--as if we're all striving for some common ideal involving TV, fast cars, and a chicken McNugget in every pot.) But I was distracted by a certain humorous and terrifying post on Backpacker.com and decided to opt for the short and pithy version. (Let's hope it delivers.)

The sugar/ethanol project, according to Reuters, would produce thousands of jobs, and the Kenyan government, which owns 20 percent of Mumias, the sugar company, stands to benefit, too. But environmentalists have cried foul (or fowl! --sorry, bad pun), saying the project could endanger 350 species that rely on the Delta for habitat.

The Mumias project may yet pass. But the country's courts deserve a little bit of congratulation, I think, for standing up to big business.